50 (Mostly) Obscure Songs You Should Listen To (With Links)

Posted in: Musicouching by Robert Tidwell on June 29th, 2008 | 17 Comments

I love music so I sat down and spent a few days compiling a list of 50 songs that you probably haven’t heard. You should give each of them a listen. The styles range from alternative rock to pop to hardcore hip hop to political punk rock. You will discover a song you love, I promise you.

  1. Marcy Playground – Our Generation

    .This has become one of my favorite songs as of late. Who would have thought that a one hit wonder from the late 90s would have released decent music? Remember “Sex and Candy”? Yep, that’s these guys. This song is an anthem for liberal spirituality.

  2. Insane Clown Posse – Nothings Left

    There is a moronic skit at the very beginning of this track, but after that you get a very poetic piece about how “Everything lefts been done before, nothing new, nowhere to explore.” The song’s theme is death and committing something to history. It is a lonely dirge. It is the song I want played at my funeral. There are no serial killer clowns and no faygo, just a spiritual acceptance that if he were to die, the only thing he would have left is to hope that he’s accepted into the after life he desires. This is one of the best examples of the Insane Clown Posse’s spiritual side.

  3. Alanis Morissette – Still

    If you’ve ever watched the Kevin Smith film, Dogma, you’ve already heard this song. It plays at the end credits. I love this song because it is about God. I am not a Christian and I usually dislike songs about God, because, well, I don’t actually believe in any God. Alanis Morissette played God in the film and this song was written in a specific response to her ideas of God. She is an Agnostic woman who had studied Buddhism. I think Still is a beautiful understanding of the Judeo-Christian God and I love that it came from an Agnostic woman rather than a Christian one.

  4. Divisible – Starlite Motel

    This song is about regret, I think, and doing things to make other people happy only to lose track of your own mental well being. It’s about disappointment and it’s about waking up from them. The lyrics are very mysterious and abstract at times and also very blatant and personal at times. They create a world in which you feel as if you are listening to yourself confess all of your deepest secrets but only realizing that it is you at the last moment. It’s a beautiful song.

  5. Mindless Self Indulgence – Mark David Chapman

    . Mark David Chapman was the man who shot John Lennon. This song is about how music sucks these days. How there is no more originality and how not even Mindless Self Indulgence are worthy of the album sales they get. Music sucks. It’s extremely energetic and full fisted. Very loud sound but you can’t help but sing along.

  6. Lorraine & Malena – Just Me And Eve

    . This song is about Adam and Eve. It was written by Neil Gaiman and is absolutely hilarious. This is possibly the best retelling of Adam and Eve that I’ve ever heard.

  7. Tech N9ne – Hope For A Higher Power

    This is a Gangsta rap song about religion. It’s about how, when it’s all said and done and it’s the end, he hopes there is a God. But until then he isn’t going to leave things up to God. Tech N9ne is one of the most talented rappers to ever spit, his flow is complex and his concepts are well thought out and original.

  8. Snoop Dogg – My Medicine

    My Medicine is off of Snoop’s new album “Ego Trippin”. The song features Whitey Ford on guitar and is essentially a country song about smoking weed. Willie Nelson is in the music video, but mostly it is just Snoop being Snoop over a different type of music. He dedicates the song to the “true American Gangsta” Johnny Cash.

  9. George Jones – He Stopped Loving Her Today

    One of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. It’s about heart break. George Jones has a way with making you feel for his music and the story behind the lyrics is classic. It opens with a proclamation we’ve all made, I’ll Love You Till I Die and goes from there.

  10. Rasputina – Identity Tokens

    This song is incredibly abstract and hard to really explain. The musical aspect is absolutely brilliant and the song leaves me with a kind of saddened chill. It’s very creepy and odd. The feeling I get from the lyrics is about how we use products/fashion/symbols to define ourselves.

  11. Unexpect – Desert Urbania

    Another incredibly abstract song. This is about being trapped. When I listen to this I think about how much I loathe my job and how I just want to escape. It’s also about the power of magic and how you can release these feelings by letting yourself go in artistic expression. The music and vocals are extremely wild.

  12. Clouddead – Dead Dogs Two

    A bizarre song. I’m not sure if this counts as Hip-Hop or Electronica but it’s a good song, none the less. It’s about wanting to be a morbid curiosity, wanting to be something that shocks people into noticing them. Something so haunting and honest, something that reminds the on looker that he is mortal.

  13. Snog – Corporate Slave

    This song is pretty obvious. It’s about wanting to get out of a shitty job. It’s about how, no matter what, you do your job even when you hate it because if you don’t you will be homeless and starving. It’s about struggle and frustration and responsibility.

  14. My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – Universal Blackness

    Mmm, kitschy industrial. This band has a lot of different sounds, this is one of my favorites of theirs, though. It’s dark, creepy and still fun and camp. It’s over 9 minutes long so get comfy.

  15. Pop Will Eat Itself – Ich Bin Ein Auslander

    The title is a jab at John F. Kennedy saying Ich Bin Ein Berliner. I am a Berliner. The song is about fascism creeping into everyday life. Subtly at first and then not so much. It’s about fear of an over powerful government. It’s about racism and prejudice and how, some day soon, we will see another Hitler.

  16. TV On The Radio – Staring At The Sun

    Another heavy on the abstract song. It’s about passion and love though. How it takes you over. When you first fall in love with someone it’s beautiful but it’s dangerous. It’s overwhelming, like being overtaken by the waves on a beach, or more aptly, like when you stare at the sun and can’t look away.

  17. King Gordy – Lucifer’s Apology

    This song is about regret. It is about Lucifer begging to be let back into God’s life but it is also about a man begging his lover to take him back. Probably the single best Horrorcore song ever recorded. The authentic nature of Gordy’s flow speaks a lot about the pain in this song.

  18. Tori Amos – Father Lucifer

    Tori Amos is insane and super awesome. This song is about her getting in touch with some inner feelings. It’s not as dark as you’d think and it’s not as apologetic as you’d think either. It has very little to do with “Lucifer” but is more about a spiritual journey she took with a Shaman. It uses very Judeo-Christian language though, so negative feelings earn the name Lucifer.

  19. Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

    .Live. Strange Fruit is was written in response to a photo in the newspaper. It’s an extremely graphic song about lynch mobs and hangings in the south. Very powerful and Billie Holiday had the perfect voice for this kind of song. It is full of anger, bitterness, and a little bit of fear.

  20. Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

    This song is about falling in love with the wrong people. It’s a Trip Hop song about knowing that someone is bad for you and staying with them simply because you want to know how it ends.

  21. Gaelle – Moonsglow

    Probably the sexiest song I’ve ever heard. Gaelle is an intense vocalist who uses very calming sounds to express her intensity. The passion and fire in this song is strong but the music is very relaxing. It’s like scented candles, dim lighting and a bubble bath for two.

  22. Portishead – Nylon Smile

    Have you ever felt that even though life isn’t so bad, you just can’t seem to be happy? That is this song. Being lonely is the worst kind of pain and sometimes you just can’t escape that feeling, that is where Portishead live.

  23. David Bowie – I’m Afraid of Americans

    This song is about conformity and about mass appeal. It’s one of the first music videos I can remember watching and being blown away by and the song has stuck in my head ever since. I’m afraid of Americans. I’m afraid of the world. You’ve probably heard this song, but it’s probably been a long time and you should listen again. The video also lends a bit to the trigger happy quality of so many Americans.

  24. Garbage – Not My Idea

    Garbage’s second album was really popular, but their first cd was my favorite. Not My Idea was a darker, angrier song and I felt it often got ignored. The story is about regrets and being misled. It’s about falling in love with someone who breaks your heart and wanting revenge. It’s also about fire. I jokingly refer to this song as Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ favorite song. Why? Listen to the last verse.

  25. The Postal Service – We Will Become Silhouettes

    This song compares the end of a relationship to the falling of an atomic bomb. It’s beautifully sad imagery is one of a kind.

  26. P J Harvey – Sheela-na-Gig

    I think this song is about trying to find a balance between being a sexual person and being too sexual. I think, in our world, it is hard for women sometimes because the masculine society either idolizes the virgin, the asexual woman, or lusts after and degrades the overtly sexual, the whore. Even in the bible women are either virgins or prostitutes. I think many women probably suffer from trying to find their own grey area in something that most people treat as exclusively black or white. As a man I try to keep this in mind.

  27. Sabac – Fight Until The End

    This is a song about police brutality. It’s a hip hop song, lots of energy and offers a different reaction to crimes committed by police officers. Although the conclusion is, if you play the system and lose shoot back, the fact that he spells out what people in a community can do to legally keep an eye on the police who patrol their areas is classic. The song is well thought out and wonderfully put together. Immortal Technique is a featured guest.

  28. 8mm – Nothing Left To Lose

    This is another song that takes place at the end of a relationship. What I love about this song is the way it sounds. The musical aspect is not as impressive as the vocal layers. You can’t help but want to sing along and everybody in the world can relate to the emotional aspect.

  29. Corporate Avenger – The Bible Is Bullshit

    This song is about how Religion corrupts people. It doesn’t limit it to just Christianity, but takes on Islam and Hinduism too.

  30. Fuckfase – Mushroom Cloud

    This song was written right before the US went in to invade Iraq. It is a protest to the American racism that cried “NUKE THEM ALL” in response to 9/11. It was and continues to be one of my favorite anti-war songs. It is controversial and offensive at parts, but I think that is the passion behind its statements. The vocals are very gruff, it’s a rap song but not a typical sounding rap song. It’s like horrorcore but political.

  31. Zug Izland – Just A Dream

    Zug Izland was a project started by Violent J of the Insane Clown Posse. He’d been listening to too much Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains, at the time, and this is what grew from it. Though Violent J is not in the group he wrote a majority of the lyrics and themes. This song is about how any dream can come true.

  32. Pearl Jam – Ghost

    Pearl Jam are one of the more popular bands on this list. This song is one of the lesser known songs off their albums. If you listen to Pearl Jam you probably know it well. Otherwise you’ve probably never heard of it.

  33. Sade – The Sweetest Taboo

    I once dated a woman who was obsessed with the sheer sexiness of Sade. I’d never listened to her music before then but this song floored me. This is a love song about forbidden love and is definitive of the quiet storm sound. It’s passion is unmatchable but it comes off very mildly. It is subtle and unflinching but very mellow.

  34. Will.I.Am – Fantastic

    This song is another one that takes place at the end of a relationship. It’s when you bump into an Ex and you tell them you are doing good. You’re doing better than you ever had been when you were with them. You don’t miss them at all. You’re fantastic.

  35. Tapping the Vein – Everything

    This track is about not being able to get back into your life after a tragedy. I think it is about recovering from drug addiction but the metaphor plays with any tragedy. When a loved one dies you have to get back to living your own life. When your heart breaks, when you lose your job, you just have to get back on that horse.

  36. Collide – Halo

    Collide are moody, dark and sexy. They are black leather and haunting vocals mixed with passion and aggression. I chose Halo because the song impresses me musically, but in truth all of their songs are pretty similar. Bleak and dismal but still romantic. Lonely but wanting love.

  37. Ego Likeness – Aviary

    This track is about feeling stuck in a cage. It’s moody and slow and dark. It’s about being fed up with life and being stuck in one place which is sometimes interesting but mostly not.

  38. Goldfrapp – Caravan Girl

    Goldfrapp proves that pop music doesn’t have to suck. It doesn’t have to be about dancing to mindless melodies about how sexy you are. This was my favorite song off her newest album, Seventh Tree.

  39. She Wants Revenge – Monologue

    This song is about inner pain but it disguises it as being about kinky sex. Its about an emotionally abusive relationship and being too afraid to say something. She Wants Revenge is a more popular band so you may have heard this song before, but you should give it a good listen.

  40. Neila – News On Mute

    Neila is a Hawaiian born, So Cal raised hip hop act. News On Mute is off her album For Whom The Bells Crow and is in tune with the theme of that album. The world sucks sometimes. News On Mute poses the question, “Why isn’t the news ever positive?” The song is about trying to find the silver lining in a shitty world, though often not being able to.

  41. India.Arie – India’Song

    India.Arie is really popular in some circles but next to unknown in others. She is an odd place between soul music and folk music. This is a song about racism and slavery and is well written and awesomely put together.

  42. Project Deadman – Good Enough

    The album this song is going to be on has not yet been released but you can view the video on Youtube or on the new DVD that comes with Prozak’s solo album Tales From The Sick. The song is an apology, but it is about rejection. It’s haunting and lonely and the video is genuinely creepy.

  43. Belle and Sebastian – Put The Book Back On The Shelf

    I once bought a comic, kind of at random, called Put The Book Back On The Shelf. When I’d read it at home later that night I realized it was a collection of comics about the band Belle And Sebastian’s songs. I’d never heard of them before so I got to downloading. The song Put The Book Back On The Shelf was really interesting to me.

  44. Bob Dylan – Day Of the Locusts

    Everybody knows who Bob Dylan is but very few people under 30 have ever actually listened to his music. It’s time to go back and just listen to his brilliance. This song has always made me smile, but I smile at odd things.

  45. Bright Eyes – A Poetic Retelling Of An Unfortunate Seduction

    I used to loathe Bright Eyes but when I heard this song everything fell away and all I could think about was how perfectly worded this song is. The word combinations and structure are just impressive. The storytelling is some of the best in music.

  46. Dogs Die In Hot Cars – Godhopping

    Aside from the fact that they have the single best name for any band ever, Dogs Die In Hot Cars is a relatively unknown band. They have a national audience but I’ve never known them to be on MTV or the local rock stations. They are an intelligent band, too. Anyway, this song, Godhopping, is an attack on society to say the least.

  47. Iggy Pop – The Passenger

    A friend of mine named Jozie made me listen to Iggy Pop’s album Soldier, which came out right around the same time I was born. It was unorthodox and brash. It was intense and erratic. The song Ambition was the first Iggy Pop song that made me smile. It is sarcastic and rude and honest. I couldn’t find a link to that song, so you get The Passenger, which is just as awesome.

  48. Rilo Kiley – Accidntel Deth

    When I listen to this song I think about a friend of mine who is addicted to Meth. I’m not sure if that is what the band intended or not but that is what I got from it. I think that is why they spelled Death wrong in the title. I don’t know. It makes me sad to think that my friend nearly died and reminds me of the moment I’d heard he’d had an overdose.

  49. Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

    If there is only one song on this list you’ve heard, it’s probably this one. I love the rap verses to this song.

  50. Hed P E – Feel Good

    I’m a huge fan of hybrid genres and a punk band doing a rap song feature Morgan from Kittie and Serj from System of a Down, well, that has to be dope, right? This song epitomizes what I like about Hip Hop and it isn’t even a rap song.

Thank you for reading. I know there is a lot here, but if you are looking for good music, this is the place to start.

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17 Responses to “50 (Mostly) Obscure Songs You Should Listen To (With Links)”
  • Johnny Tsunami June 29th, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    I really want to listen to these, but I don’t feel like hunting them all down on youtube. If you could put links to these songs, I would definitely check them out. I know, I’m lazy.

    On another note, I suggest removing the word obscure from the title, because a lot of these are well-known, examples being Clint Eastwood and India’s Song, both of which were very popular when they came out (i.e. played on MTV and the radio).

  • Roberttidwell July 3rd, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the advice, links added.

  • Mel December 3rd, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Yeah, wtf? A lot of these songs are pretty well known by people who DON’T just listen to the radio or MTV…and even those people are going to know at least the Postal Service track.

  • Amanda April 2nd, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Thanks. I’m always up for finding new artist, and you really helped. I also liked how you have so many diffent genres,and explainin your take on them. My favorite song on your list is the first on. I had never heard of them, but loved now love them.
    Thanks again!~

  • wow May 22nd, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    some of the worst songs in history on here (Alanis Morissette – Still)

  • Robert Tidwell May 22nd, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Wow, how is Still “One of the worst songs in history”? The song is beautiful and well written. It’s one thing to not like a song but please stop being a hater. KTHANXDIE.

  • ILL July 22nd, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    wow king gordy is on here the person who wrote this must really listen to underground

  • JuggaloTus July 22nd, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    You certainly know music and I’m glad you included ICP’s Nothing’s Left, Tech N9ne’s Higher Power, King Gordy’s Lucifer’s Apology, Zug Izland’s Just a Dream, Prozak’s Good Enough, and (hed) PE’s Feel Good. All of those are Juggalo approved and wicked as hell.

  • guest July 22nd, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    please dont say \”juggalo approved\”

  • M.c._gothic_chocolate July 26th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    thats right icp, (hed)p.e., corporate avenger, gordy, and prozak FEAT. mike e. clark a.k.a. project deadman all i gots to say is whoop whoop muthafacko

  • M.c.gothicchocolate July 26th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    thats right icp, (hed)p.e., corporate avenger, gordy, and prozak FEAT. mike e. clark a.k.a. project deadman all i gots to say is whoop whoop muthafacko

  • Robert Tidwell July 27th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    thanks for the love guys!

  • Fiss January 29th, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Couple of really good songs in here, and I know/like enough of them that I’m confident searching for the majority I don’t know will be worth my time. Thanks for the great leads!

  • commentor March 23rd, 2011 at 12:36 am

    the generalization about bob dylan fans is ignorant

  • lala June 15th, 2011 at 6:59 am

    THanks for this post, loved to discover so many songs.
    I haven’t gone through all of them yet .

  • elno lewis April 21st, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Wow. The boat. Its been missed.

    Seriously, love the thought of this but there is no depth. Let me throw just a couple names at you: Lee Harvey Hammond, Afroman, Leonard Cohen, Morcheeba, Solomon Burke….

    I have a very eclectic collection. I constantly dig for obscure songs and this list is pretty weak.

  • Visitor July 24th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Horrible, horrible list. Just horrible. cLOUDDEAD is the only worthwhile “obscure” band on there and that’s not even their best song. Dude, your music taste sucks.

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